Tag Archives: Nataly Pontou

Constraints: Soundless

December has brought to the gallery a new and diverse exhibition of Printmaking by Lei Cheng. His prints reflect his origins that are from a small city in the western side of the Pearl River Delta called Macau. Being acknowledged as the most densely populated region in the world, Macau is a city with strong bonds and relations between its residents.  Cheng’s prints are an insight to Macau, its people and culture, its mysterious landscapes and the crowded buildings.


His paintings Soundless #1, 2 and 3 depict the three perspectives of a screaming person. Cheng’s lines and shades construct this personality which isn’t necessarily the same in all three prints.  The cry of one person could express many emotions, of resentment, sorrow or even perhaps happiness. It’s this constraint of emotions in relation to the residents of Macau and its culture that Cheng is trying to convey in his work.

The title of the works ‘ Soundless’ as well as its dark shades emphasize  on this idea of the restraint of one’s emotions within society and tradition. Trapped behind the glass of the frame, arguably these portraits borrow elements of the famous painting ‘The Scream’ by expressionist Edvard Munch and illustrate pain and distortion. They might even perhaps be self portraits of the artist’s own cry and attempt to express and communicate himself through art.

Visit the Strand Gallery to see Cheng’s exhibition ‘Constraints: Printmaking of Lei Cheng’ including the ‘Soundless’ Series, closes Sunday 8th of December.


COMING UP: Constraints, Printmaking of Lei Cheng

The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce the forthcoming exhibition ‘Constraints: Printmaking of Lei Cheng’ opening this week.

Born in Macao, Cheng felt constrained from the tight relationships between its residents and found expression and outlet in art. Lines and colours become the embodiment of Cheng’s emotions and the means of articulating his thoughts and beliefs. His work is mainly concerned with the relationship of form and content within art. Cheng perceives this relationship as a personal challenge that each artist embarks on in order to find the right balance that represents him or her best.


In this exhibition Lei Cheng unfolds the story of his creative process of printmaking inviting us to share in the emotions that were once constrained but are now underlined in the various shades of ink. ‘Constraints: Printmaking of Lei Cheng’ will be on display at the Strand Gallery from the 2nd – 8th December, 11am-6pm.

SPOTLIGHT: Leslie Graff

Following our previous Spotlight on painter Toni Silber- Delerive, we are inspired by artists that explore figurative art and realism in their works. Today’s Spotlight falls on American painter Leslie Graff who focuses on domestic life and women’s role in society.


It’s a treat © Leslie Graff

Although her series of self-portraits are contemporary depictions, they borrow elements of pin up art and the expressive colours of pop art. Graff’s ability to draw from other periods of time enables her to explore the timelessness and universality of her subject matter within culture and history.


Soft & Clean © Leslie Graff

Her self-portraits focus on the domestic action or task, deliberately excluding the face and thus become open to discussion. Through her paintings, Graff asks universal questions about subjects that we all can relate but that are personal to each individual according to their experiences. Her work can also be seen as symbolic and her everyday representations explore the priorities, expectations and relationships within family life.


Sparkling Clean © Leslie Graff

Leslie Graff holds a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree from Brigham Young University and has also done additional art training at the Worchester Art Museum and RISD. Her works have been displayed in several group and solo exhibitions and she has been featured in Literary Journal and Segullah amongst other publications. For more information on this artist visit her website here.

Visit our current exhibition ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter which will be on display until the 24th of November.

SPOTLIGHT: Toni Silber-Delerive

Still influenced by Horace Panter’s pop art style and vivid colours, today’s spotlight focuses on Toni Silber- Delerive, a  Manhattan based artist and graphic designer. Born in Philadelphia, she studied painting at the Philadelphia College of Art and graphic design at the School of Visual Arts. Her work includes figurative art as well as paintings of aerial landscapes and food.


Oxfordshire, England ©Toni Silber-Delerive

Toni’s landscapes are constructed by acrylic structures that do not overlook dimension but their composition manages to diminish depth and distance. The realistic details that one expects become one with the dominating shapes on the canvas, combining elements of simplicity and the abstract.  Her figurative work is inspired mainly from family pictures and has a playful and sometimes humorous approach to the universality of human habits and aspirations.


Cheeseburger and Fries ©Toni Silber-Delerive

Toni finds inspiration in nature exploring the relationship of the natural and the man-made as well as looking at elements of meaning in everyday events, places or objects that we usually take for granted. However her paintings are stories, open for the audience’s imagination and interpretation.


Couple Sunbathing ©Toni Silber-Delerive

Toni Silber- Delerive has exhibited her works in a variety of group and solo shows in the USA and Germany. For more information on this artist visit her website here.

Don’t forget to visit our current exhibition ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter, open until the 24th of November.

COMING UP: ‘Harmony’ by Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter

The Strand Gallery is pleased to announce the upcoming exhibition ‘Harmony’ by artists Denise Hamilton and Nuray Yigiter. Their paintings combine a variety of thematic and material elements while capturing the moment in pattern of colours that betray emotion, memory and most importantly a sensation of harmony.


© Denise Hamilton

Denise Hamilton’s works are inspired by nature, movement and light and focus on the detail of an instant in time. This makes her paintings products of a long period of hard work and improvisation in order to imprison a moment that accentuates the atmosphere that envelopes it rather than the actual reality that is represented.


© Nuray Yigiter

Nuray Yigiter’s works find their inspiration in motion and the human body. Her experiences are what make her the artist that she is and are the dominant theme of her paintings. Her expressive colours fabricate her ethereal silhouettes onto the canvas in a way that connect their forms to their surroundings. Both painters’ brushstrokes give a feeling of motion and abstraction making the works up to some level conceptual and non representational.

You can visit Denise Hamilton‘s and Nuray Yigiter‘s websites for more information.

Their exhibition ‘Harmony’ will be on display at the Strand Gallery from the 11th -24th of November.

SPOTLIGHT: Amelia Fais Harnas

As Horance Panter’s exhibition ‘The Writing is on the Wall’ is coming to an end, we are looking at more icon inspired art. Portland based artist Amelia Fais Harnas approaches themes of iconography in a very unique technique a fresh angle and impressive skill.

Amelia Fais Harnas Wine Stains 8

Self Portrait as Saint Pompette © Amelia Fais Harnas

She uses wine in order to create her stunning portraits of different people on fabric. The characters portrayed are perhaps equally difficult to reveal as is the wine stain to be controlled and shaped. Amelia Fais Harnas uses a wax resist in order to create the shades of wine patterns fabricating her portraits on the cloth. She also sometimes uses embroidery and machine sewing to add to the final result. Her works however have a more fragile nature to other artworks and require more care and attention for the material to last.

£££ Amelia Fais Harnas-1211708

The Three Graces © Amelia Fais Harnas

Harna’s work can be associated with iconography mostly for her main material: the wine. Her works often depict people drinking a glass of wine which perhaps can be seen as a reference to the New Testament story of the Last Supper or the Shroud of Turin. Besides the Christian suggestions the wine might also refer to Greek mythology and the ancient belief of the wine as ‘the nectar of the gods’. All of these references as well as the wine stained or embroidery designed hallows suggest that the characters depicted are saint-like or immortal. Arguably her works illustrate some kind of sanctification.

Visit Amelia Fais Harna’s website here for more information.


The whole team at the gallery are very excited about our current exhibition ‘The Writing is on the Wall’ by Horace Panter, sponsored by Sheaffer who in conjunction are celebrating their 100th Anniversary.

SF_Centenial_Logo_wh_print_blk_bkgrdSheaffer is a pen company that first started in 1913 with only just seven employees. Over the years Sheaffer saw enormous growth, has left it’s mark on the writing instrument industry and continues to adapt and offer it’s customers innovating quality products. Read through our exclusive interview to learn more about Sheaffer, their thoughts on Horace Panter and their future.

This exhibition marks Sheaffer’s 100th Birthday, can you tell us a little bit about the company’s history?

 The W.A. Sheaffer Pen Company was incorporated in Fort Madison, Iowa, USA on May 16, 1913. The company’s founder and president, Walter A. Sheaffer, was a humble gentleman who formed an idea, staked his life savings and against all odds created one of the most highly-respected and honored organizations around the world, making his namesake company a worldwide symbol of quality, craftsmanship and innovation over the next 100 years.


 Do you have a favourite painting of Horace’s from the exhibition?

 Of course our favorite is the commission piece, but it’s hard to choose just one, to be honest.  We also love Horace’s painting of Amy Winehouse which is just beautiful, The Clash piece, Silver Robot, and Charlie Parker from the “Chicago Blues” collection to name but a few!


Detail © Horace Panter

What does the future hold for Sheaffer?

Sheaffer is proud to have made its mark in an industry that has changed so much over the past century – the company has adapted throughout the decades, ensuring that the Sheaffer brand and its products are still desired and relevant in 2013.

For example, technological advancements continue to change the way people write and communicate, and as such, Sheaffer recently introduced a ballpoint-stylus to work with capacitive touchscreens as well as a tablet holder within its leather collection.

Looking forward, Sheaffer will continue to adapt to the rapidly-shifting marketplace by introducing more innovative and elegant products that will address the changing needs of its consumers, while remaining ever-mindful of its remarkable 100-year history and heritage.

‘The Writing is on the Wall’ will be on display at the Strand Gallery until the 10th of November.

To find more about Sheaffer visit their website here.

SPOTLIGHT: Annie Vought

As our current exhibition ‘The Writing is on the Wall’ by Horace Panter opens to the public today, we are looking at other artists that also explore writing in their work. Today’s spotlight feature falls on Annie Vought, who is mainly involved with typography and word cut-outs. Her work is concerned with the ups and downs of human communication, the everyday correspondence that sometimes conveys aspects of truth and other times conceals secrets or includes subtexts and hidden connotations but always portrays the state of human weaknesses and imperfections.


Annie Vought

Her main source of inspiration is also her means for her works as she works on the written texts of correspondence on large paper. When she finishes she goes through the text cutting out the negative space around and within the letters. The result is a fragile sculptural word cut out that can also be seen as a portrait of the person that has written it. Arguably text can define its author in the moment it was written, but can also work as a mirror for the reader at any certain time.


Annie Vought

Annie doesn’t portray the meaning of her works right away but prefers to let the viewer read and examine her work carefully in order to generate meaning. The writing is always confessional and personal, which makes her art engaging to a wider audience. While the viewer is free to translate the works in their own unique way, the text gains elements of plurality and universality.

Find out more about Annie Vought by visiting her website here.

All images © Annie Vought.

INTERVIEW: Horace Panter

Most of us know him as the bassist of the well-known band The Specials, but Horace Panter is also an accomplished and very well received painter. His art journey began when he was still a student at the Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic where he studied Fine Art, and though he later on became a professional musician (and a very successful one!), his inclination towards art and painting never ceased. There seems to be this artist working in a parallel passage to that one of the musician in Horace Panter’s character were sometimes their paths can overlap or be compared but the two never meet or interrelate.

In this interview he tells us about the time when he was 17, his University years and his early influences. He also talks about how he prefers to work and how he uses the same approach to showcasing his art as he does with his music.

‘I was swept up in the trend of conceptual and minimalist sculpture. I started visiting the Tate Gallery, attending their Sunday afternoon lectures and spending time in the Rothko room.’

hound-dog-taylor (1)

Where did your interest in painting stem from?

At 17, all the pupils at Kettering Grammar School were given UCAS forms and were told to go away and choose a university course to do. I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do, other than listen to Cream, Jimi Hendrix, Free and John Peel. I wanted to be ‘creative’ in some form and Art School seemed as near to creative as I could get. I got a place at Northampton School of Art to do a one-year foundation course and then got accepted at Coventry’s Lanchester Polytechnic to do Fine Art. I still didn’t have a clue, but it put me in the right direction!

Who are your inspirations and what influences your work?

My first influences were the Pop Artists. I liked the flat colour paintings of Robert Indiana – American gas stations and freeways. When I got to Art College I was swept up in the trend of conceptual and minimalist sculpture. I started visiting the Tate Gallery, attending their Sunday afternoon lectures and spending time in the Rothko room. I was very taken with the Abstract Expressionists, and also what was termed ‘Post-Abstract Expressionism’: Morris Louis and Kenneth Noland. I became a professional musician in 1979 and, while touring, was able to visit some of the world’s top art galleries. A visit to MOMART in New York brought me into contact with the work of Joseph Cornell. It was my ‘St Paul on the road to Damascus’ moment. The grand gesture was replaced by the mystery of objects. I’ve recently returned to my Pop Art roots, but heavily influenced by traditional iconography. I think all my works have a kind of quasi-religious aspect.

How would you describe your unique style? How do you feel it has developed over the years?

The work I was doing ten years ago had a lot to do with folk art and what is termed ‘outsider’ art. It has moved significantly to a more representational style although I still use a very limited palette. I describe myself as ‘the borg’ because, like the fictional species, I absorb and appropriate almost anything I see! This used to bother me as I felt I should be finding and sticking to one particular style of painting. However, I now value the freedom I have to merge styles or even to have several going on at the same time! In the studio, Monday could be ‘icon’ painting, Tuesday, ‘pop art’, Wednesday, ‘music’ … I should have a different painting apron for each day of the week! Of course, it doesn’t work like that in a literal sense because I’m lead by what is uppermost in my mind on any given day. At the moment, I’m working on a piece called ‘Land of 1000 Dances’, based on soul music, so I’m immersing myself by listening to the music while I research and plan ideas!  When I’m painting portraits though, I like to work in silence. I paint portraits as icons, the subject as the central focus without distractions, so I don’t like to be distracted while I’m working on them.

‘If you’re in a good band, there’s no point leaving it in a rehearsal room; you’ve got to go out and get gigs. It’s the same with paintings. They need to be seen.’

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Do you feel playing in The Specials has been a big influence in your art work?

Only inasmuch as playing in The Specials and touring enabled me to visit some of the world’s best art galleries and, since 2009, has given me more time to spend on my painting. I use the ‘music industry’ model in the marketing of my art. If you’re in a good band, there’s no point leaving it in a rehearsal room; you’ve got to go out and get gigs. It’s the same with paintings. They need to be seen.

 What can we expect to see from Horace Panter in the future? Do you have any exciting upcoming projects after ‘The Writing is on the Wall’?

Following this, I will be painting towards an exhibition at Reuben Colley Fine Art Gallery in Birmingham in February 2014. Reuben Colley is an artist with a gallery and I’m honoured that he has chosen to represent my work. Before that though, I’ll be taking a break in Los Angeles to stay with an old friend and artist Vicki Berndt, ostensibly to cat sit while she takes a vacation! I will be making the most of my time there by visiting galleries and looking for inspiration!  In June 2014 I also have a solo exhibition at ‘According to McGee’ in York which is another great gallery. There are also some exciting possibilities on the horizon with a couple of corporate spin offs being discussed. I’m a lot further forward in my art career than I was this time last year so I guess I’m moving in the right direction. However, you’re only as good as your last collection so there’s much work to be done!

You can see Horace Panter’s current exhibition ‘The Writing is on the Wall’ at the Strand Gallery until the 10th of November.

Visit his website here for more information.

All images © Horace Panter

SPOTLIGHT: Leanne Surfleet

As the gallery starts to wind down its current exhibition from the team at London Independent Photography, we in the offices start to branch our creative net back out to the world. Today’s Spotlight feature falls on Leanne Surfleet, a UK based fine art photographer whose work challenges concepts of identity and memory in a confessional manner and approach.


Leanne has received a National Diploma in Photography as well as a Bachelor of Arts in Contemporary Lens Media and has recently exhibited in London and Milan. She has also been featured in magazines internationally and is the Photography Editor of the website No Culture Icons.


Leanne mainly works with analog and instant cameras and her self-portraits uncover the vulnerability and innocence of her melancholic pictures. Her work is personal, adding to the authenticity of its conceptual and emotional weight, which is also seen in the familiarity and plurality that her diary-like pictures reflect.


Time is represented by light in Leanne’s work as the impenetrable component of life and yet in contrast to the conception of photography as a memory, as time captured in a piece of paper. Furthermore, she experiments with mirrors that relate to her ongoing themes of the self and the individual as well as symbolises perception and identification.


For more information on Leanne and her work, visit her website here.

All images are © Leanne Surfleet